ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

This is exclusive content

Changing times in banking

Chris Marston, Head of Professional Practices at Lloyds TSB Commercial, gives an insight into the banker’s mindset and explores how the relationship between solicitors and bankers is changing.

And I’d argue this is a good thing. The relationship between solicitors and their bankers may have been different in the past, but was it better? I’m convinced it wasn’t, and that a more professional, focused and productive relationship during the boom years might have brought benefits which could have provided a degree of insulation for firms against the harsh economic climate they face today.

A business meeting between banker and solicitor several years ago might have taken place perhaps annually, typically involving lunch and some small talk - maybe a round of golf. The banker would be rather nervous about asking for financial information because he remembered all too well the response last time he had the temerity to seek out the latest set of annual accounts. Such an impertinent request was a clear signal that the bank did not trust the firm or its management. It was an insult to the professional integrity of the firm. At best, a compromise of sorts would be reached where limited - and dated - information would be provided ‘to keep head office off my back’ from the banker’s viewpoint.